America’s most livable tech hub — why Northern Virginia should be on your radar.
The year 2020 was that of the U-Haul, the Craigslist ad, the broken lease agreement on your 500-square-foot downtown apartment – Americans were on the move. About a fifth of U.S. adults moved due to COVID-19 or know someone who did, and that number is even higher among the nation’s young adults (ages 18-29), at 37%. Taking geography into account, the cities that lost the most residents during the pandemic were tech industry hubs like San Francisco and New York.The pandemic that spurred this uptick in migration is not yet in the rearview mirror, and as COVID continues to make us rethink everything from our grocery budgets to the value of a backyard, there’s a case to be made about other tech hubs that offer similarly high-paying jobs but with a key differentiator: livability. A tech sector hub should be somewhere to thrive not only in your career, but also in your life. Northern Virginia (or NOVA, for short) is one place that has you covered on both fronts. Located just across the river from Washington, D.C., the region doesn’t scream “tech town” like Silicon Valley or Seattle, but in that way it’s the industry’s best-kept secret. The D.C. Metro area is the most concentrated tech talent market in the country after San Francisco, with tech positions representing 8.3 percent of all jobs in the region (second to the Bay Area’s 10.5%). In Northern Virginia’s largest county, Fairfax, one out of every four jobs is tech-related. On the heels of Amazon’s 2018 decision to open its HQ2 in NOVA, tech companies in the region are hiring by the thousands, and COVID has not slowed them down. But beyond the jobs, here are some key factors that draw tech workers to Northern Virginia.